Good All Hallows Eve Eve, kiddies! While most sites reserve their special buyer's guides for the Christmas season, we here at Moviepilot feel the end-of-year winter holidays get far too much attention as it is. Therefore, we have compiled a list of recently-released Blu-rays that you should consider picking up to ensure the perfect Halloween viewing experience.
Halloween 35th Anniversary
Released by: Anchor Bay
The Low Down: The obvious first purchase has to be this eponymous seasonal mainstay. While this is far from the first Blu-ray release of Halloween, this version is vastly different in visual presentation from its predecessors. ’s long-time cinematographer supervised this remaster, one that actually tones down the contrast and filters out many of the artificial autumnal tones (this "fall" classic was after all filmed in California in the spring). While it may be jarring for fans, and an argument can be made as to the reduction of the overall effect, this clean, pristine transfer is unlike any version of Halloween you’ve seen before.
Extra Treats: The 35th Anniversary edition includes the extra footage from the television broadcast, a tour of the shooting locations, trailers, and a brand new commentary with and John Carpenter.
Prince of Darkness: Collector’s Edition
Released by: Shout! Factory
The Low Down: Frankly, if you’re not stocking up on John Carpenter movies, you’re doing Halloween wrong. Prince of Darkness may not be Carpenter’s most popular movie, but it is arguably his scariest; nether-worldly imagery expertly creeping into the audience’s subconscious at every turn. Shout! Factory has once again proven themselves to be a standout among genre film preservation houses. Prince of Darkness is sharp, vivid, and sounds absolutely tremendous. Crank it up and turn out the lights!
Extra Treats: The first, and among the best of Prince of Darkness’ special features is its very packaging. The beautiful hand-painted cover art is striking, but Shout! still gives consumers the option of flipping the cover to the original DVD art. There are also a host of interviews, an alternate opening from the TV version, and even an Easter egg activated from the Stills Gallery section. Pretty tricky treat really.
The Exorcist 40th Anniversary Edition
Released by: Warner Brothers
The Low Down: An absolute must-own for the holiday, and more to the point necessary for classifying your own film collection as anything close to respectable. That being said, this particular release of ’s horror classic is best suited for those who don’t already own it. While there are a couple of added enticements, none justify a pricey double-dip when the presentation of the film (once again presented in both theatrical and extended cut versions) is identical to the last Blu-ray release.
Extra Treats: A full-color booklet with excerpts from Friedkin’s book The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir and a short, but wonderfully odd featurette centering on Exorcist author . The packaging is beautiful, and the 40th Anniversary Edition looks great on the shelf, but again, only for those who, inexplicably, don’t already own this masterpiece.
Released by: Shout! Factory
The Low Down: Look, you’re going to watch a lot of classics this Halloween, that’s a given, and you may think it is an equivalent foregone conclusion that all horror sequels are dreadful. I submit to you ’s improbably excellent Psycho II as evidence to the contrary, and as a handy wild card selection for your Halloween night viewing. hasn’t lost a step in the twenty-three-year interim and Franklin’s lifelong adoration for is evident in the loving reverence for these characters and the fawning, but gorgeous cinematography inside the Bates home. Your friends will not see this pick coming Thursday night, nor will they be expecting such a quality piece of horror cinema.
The Extra Treats: Once again, Shout! Factory delivers for fans. The Scream Factory (their horror offshoot) release complements an outstanding picture with a number of fun supplements including a commentary with horror director , several of interviews, TV spots, and trailers. The only downside is a lack of hand-painted original artwork on the cover; a trademark of Scream Factory.
Released by: New Line Home Video
The Low Down: Now that the Carrie remake has come and gone (signaling the last of the year's theatrically-released horror movies), I can safely rank The Conjuring among the top 3 horror films of 2013. Director is the current master of haunted house flicks and The Conjuring provides a level of fright and suspense that actually surpasses that of his own Insidious (itself entirely excellent). In addition to the stirringly eerie visuals, The Conjuring’s sound design further makes it a must-have for Halloween night.
The Extra Treats: A paltry collection of featurettes here contained, though the movie itself more than justifies this purchase.
Released by: Criterion Collection
The Low Down: Let’s say you happen to be spending Halloween with folks who favor the classical cinematic hauntings over something as contemporary as The Conjuring. Fear not, Criterion has you covered. 1944’s The Uninvited is a breezy mix of feel-good colloquial humor and moments of legitimate supernatural creepiness. Beautifully shot and boasting effects that seem advanced beyond its release date, if nothing else The Uninvited will make a fitting “cool down” for the end of the night.
The Extra Treats: The most interesting special feature presented in this Criterion release is not one, but two separate radio play versions of the story.
Hannibal Season 1
Released by: Lionsgate
The Low Down: Perhaps your group has decided to take a break from movies on this particular evening. Maybe you generally prefer television to film but you’d still like to experience the requisite Halloween chills. There are two series I can wholeheartedly recommend. The first is ’s Hannibal. Taking place before the events of Red Dragon, Hannibal is a remarkably unique delve into the Silence of the Lambs universe. It is violent and grisly, and yet the stunning photography presents even the most grotesque images with irrefutable artistry. definitely carves out his own exquisite interpretation of one of the most diabolically iconic of characters.
The Extra Treats: Great commentaries, featurettes exploring nearly every facet of the series, and a rather intriguing deleted scene.
American Horror Story: Asylum
Released by: 20th Century Fox
The Low Down: FX’s American Horror Story operates more as a series of compartmentalized macabre plays by one troupe of actors than an ongoing narrative season to season. The good news there is that it’s no problem jumping in at Asylum (technically season 2). Asylum is camp, to be sure, but there is a certain charm and an immense entertainment value in its throw-everything-at-the-wall-see-what-sticks approach. The censorship limits of network television are routinely pushed, but the show is not without its artistic flourishes. Should make for an absurdly fun Halloween night.
The Extra Treats: Behind-the-scenes featurettes, some deleted scenes, and a moderately enjoyable short entitled “The Orderly.”
Chucky The Complete Collection
Released by: Universal Studios
The Lowdown: The pint-sized terror known as Chucky finally sees his entire franchise receive the Blu-ray treatment. Chucky may not be on the same slasher A-list as Jason, Freddy, and Michael, but I would hazard it has therefore been quite a while since you and your friends revisited his tiny-terror misadventures. Don't have time to watch all six films? I highly recommend watching Child’s Play, Bride of Chucky, and then the latest Curse Of Chucky in that order; bloody good overview of the series.
The Extra Treats: More commentaries, featurettes, and deleted scenes than you could shake a knife at. There are even a couple of Easter eggs to be found on the first disc.
Released by: New Video Group
The Low Down: This is a bit of a dark horse pick in terms of what might actually find its way into your lineup, but one that should really pay off if your Halloween viewing group demands smaller, more cerebral horror fare. Resolution is the story of a man trying to save his friend from a crippling drug addiction. He handcuffs his addict friend to a pipe in the abandoned house where his bad habit has lead him. However, while hoping his buddy will detox, our protagonist finds a steadily evolving series of discarded media that open the door to a sinister mystery. Cleverly constructed, superbly performed, and incredibly tense, Resolution will come out of nowhere and enhance your All Hallows Evening.
The Extra Treats: If you want to follow up the scares with laughs, definitely check out the special features here. Not only is there a commentary in which the actors discuss the movie…with a dog, but there are also bits about a fictive excised third character and tips on how the movie will improve your sex life. Your guess is as good as mine.